Tuktuki helps teach children

Play to Learn

Unlocking the power of play for children affected by conflict and crisis

Play to Learn is a trailblazing program from Sesame Workshop, BRAC, the International Rescue Committee (IRC), NYU Global TIES for Children, and the LEGO Foundation that is providing children affected by crisis opportunities to learn, grow, and thrive.

All children need opportunities for play to help them learn and grow. But for children affected by conflict and crisis, play can be especially transformative. Research shows that play is not only essential to healthy child development, but it can help young children overcome adversity and build a brighter future.  

Around the world, 1 in 6 children lives in a conflict zone, and the number of children caught up in conflict and crisis is only expected to grow. With such high stakes, Play to Learn is bringing playful learning opportunities to children and families affected by the Rohingya and Syrian refugee crises, while designing and testing program approaches and educational content that can be adapted and scaled across multiple contexts.

Grover holds the hand of a young child.
Featured Resource
Meet Somaya

Somaya is a six-year-old who can dream big because she has opportunities to learn and play that she didn’t always have. She and her family are Rohingya refugees who fled violence in Myanmar and live in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.

Featured Spotlight
Meet Noor and Aziz

These 6-year-old twins are the heart of our Rohingya-language content.

Noor Yasmin smiles at us with her hands behind her back.

Noor Yasmin

Noor is a 6-year-old Rohingya girl driven by insatiable curiosity. She loves to ask big questions and explore new ways of playing and learning with her brother, Aziz. Noor and her family live in the Cox’s Bazar refugee camps in Bangladesh.

Aziz smiles at us with his hands on his hips.


Aziz, Noor’s twin brother, is a 6-year-old Rohingya boy with a big heart and an even bigger imagination. He is a natural-born performer and storyteller and loves helping his family, whom he lives with in the Cox’s Bazar refugee camps in Bangladesh.


Caregivers in Rohingya Camps

Agree that play should be part of the learning experience.

Lending a Hand
Learning through play also helps children develop holistic skills, like creativity and social-emotional skills, that are vital to survive and thrive in this rapidly changing world.

Increasing Access to Playful Learning through the Power of Media

To reach young children affected by conflict and crisis, Sesame Workshop created Watch, Play, Learn, a series of 140 5-minute animated segments on math, science, social emotional learning, and child protection, health, and safety. Designed as a ready-made, globally tested series with the unique needs of children affected by conflict and crisis in mind, Watch, Play, Learn is reaching children around the world, from Ukraine to East Africa to the Middle East, South Asia, and beyond.

Advocating for Children Affected by Crisis
Too often, the unique needs of young children and their families are overlooked in times of crisis. Despite clear evidence that early childhood development (ECD) programming has both immediate and long-term benefits for children and their communities—and that ECD programs can provide returns of up to 13% a year through improved education, health, and economic outcomes—these interventions remain dramatically underfunded around the world. As part of Play to Learn, Sesame Workshop and our partners are advocating for larger and higher quality investments for young children in crisis contexts.

Brain Development

Happens before the age of five.

Initiative Partners

Logo of Lego foundation.
IRC Logo